The foodbank has operated from the council-owned former Love Lane Primary School site in Cowes since the start of 2014 – when the council responded to an urgent request for premises at a critical time of year for the foodbank. The proposed new lease is being recommended for approval at a meeting of the council’s Property Disposal and Capital Programme Sub Committee next week (Tuesday 11th November).
The foodbank currently occupies the premises under a temporary agreement at a rent of £1,200 a year. The planned new lease is designed to give it longer term security and is being recommended at the same annual rental figure.
As well as helping people in crisis with essentials such as food, clothing and bedding, the foodbank (a registered charity) provides volunteering opportunities to more than 180 local people.
Council leader and Executive member for resources, Councillor Ian Stephens, said:
“We are very pleased to be making this recommendation for the foodbank. Hopefully it will play a key part in the continuation and growth of the vital service it provides to people in great need.”
Deputy council leader and Executive member for community wellbeing, Councillor Steve Stubbings, added:
“This support from the council is very much in line with our vision of enabling people to take control of their lives and seeking to protect the most vulnerable. By offering a significant reduction in rent compared to a commercial figure we are fully recognising the important and much valued role the foodbank plays on the Island.”
Foodbank manager, Hannah King, said:
“We are hoping for a positive outcome from this proposal as the foodbank’s future would then be secure thanks to the council’s support.
“The new centre at Love Lane receives gifts of food daily and it is here that the food is sorted, checked for date, stored and then distributed to our seven centres across the Island. Having the space to store the food on our racking and to work between the aisles has made our volunteers’ job so much easier.
“The centres are used by many Islanders who find themselves in financial hardship and we are so grateful to the council for enabling us to continue with our work in helping those in need.”
The Isle of Wight Foodbank was established in April 2011 and consists of a warehouse, offices and recycling centre at the former Love Lane Primary School site – as well as seven distribution centres located around the Island. The cost of running and staffing the distribution centres is met by local churches at no cost to the foodbank.
The majority of the foodbank’s income comes from voluntary donations from Island residents.
In 2013/2014 the foodbank – whose clients are referred via a voucher scheme operated by frontline care professionals – helped a total of 3,753 adults and 2,322 children.